Community College Faculty: At Work in the New Economy by John S. Levin, Susan Koter, and Richard L Wagoner New York, NY: Pu/grave Macmillan, 2006,198 pages. ISBN 1 403966672. Hardcover: 139.95^sup USD^
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE, Community Coilege Faculty is a well researched book that should be owned by anyone interested in the debates and issues facing community college faculty in the latter half of the 20lh, and the early part of the 21st century. On the negative side, the prose is rather strained and the structure sometimes unclear, thus resulting in a much more difficult read than is necessary. The authors are supremely credentialed: Levin is a Professor of Higher Education at North Carolina, Kater is Director of Institutional Planning at Maricopa Community College, and Wagoner is Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University. However, it is possible that the attempt to blend these three voices caused the difficulty with the writing style.
Chapter 3, "The Scholarly Literature, the Theoretical Bases, and Research Methods" (the other chapter titles are just as literally descriptive) provides an example of both the strengths and weakness of the book. Within the twenty pages of the chapter, there are 166 citations, demonstrating the breadth of research. Unfortunately, by attempting to combine virtually every academic debate related to faculty development with their research on-and analysis of-globalization and neo-liberalism, the authors try the patience of the reader rather quickly. Chapter 3 is recommended only for those who have a strong stomach for such discussion.
The overall stated goal of the book is to gain a clearer understanding of the behavior and identity of community college faculty. This is achieved through the examination of four different dimensions that greatly affect community college faculty, identified in the titles of Chapters 4, 5, 6, and 7: management and governance, the use of technology and distance learning, the role of part-time faculty, and values and meanings of work. In addition, the examination is embedded within the political/economic analysis which the authors describe at various times as, "the new economy," "neo-liberalism," "globalization," and the "nouveau college." The nouveau college, as you may have guessed, is the college that embraces the new economy. The new economy is the economy that embraces the current form of globalized capitalism where education is at the service of industry, faculty are used to promote the economic identity of the college, and many part-time faculty are mere temporary labor used to promote capitalistic ends.
If this all seems a bit confusing, it is because I am mirroring the way these ideas are presented in the book. …